About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapters 6 and 7
opens this section of his letter by saying in verse 3 that “he puts no
stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be
Once again Paul goes out of his way in order to make it easy for
people to hear the gospel.
He does not compromise the message.
He simply makes his way of living in such a way that he would
rather endure hardship in order for others to receive the gospel.
He made a partial living from making tents in order not to burden
the churches with having to pay him.
compromising the message was important to Paul and it should be to us.
We compromise the message by living worldly lives.
We compromise the message by neglecting the Bible and teaching
unbiblical things, and that is a big one in today's church.
We compromise the gospel by mixing secular philosophies with it.
We even compromise the gospel by the poor way in which we preach
If there is to be a bad reaction by the world to the preaching of
the gospel it should be because of the gospel itself, not the way we
present it, or our poor quality of living.
lived a life of tension; tension between not compromising the truth of the
gospel yet compromising on some issues in order not to offend those he was
This is always a tough road to trod.
It's easy to compromise truth to maintain friendships.
It's easy to not compromise anything and in the end lose those
you're trying to save.
Paul knew how to do this.
Most of us don't know how to do this.
reason why Paul did not put a stumbling block in anyone's path was so
"his ministry would not be discredited".
Paul had enough trouble with those who tried to discredit his
This is in fact part of the motivation why Paul is writing this
certainly did not want to do anything himself that would discredit his own
Again, many of us today to all sorts of things that end up
discrediting our ministries and eventually the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
of doing things that would discredit his ministry, Paul list things that
he did that should give credit to his ministry.
In verses 4 to 10 he says that he suffers the following.
He lives “in great endurance, in troubles, in hardships and in
distresses; in beatings, in imprisonments and riots; in hard work,
sleepless nights and in hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and
kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and
in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and
in the left; through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report;
genuine yet regarded as imposters; known, yet regarded as unknown;
dying, and yet we live on; beaten and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet
always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet
can see from the above verses that Paul went through many trials and
In today's Christian world, and especially in the Prosperity
many would view Paul as not being successful because of all these
things he went through.
This certainly is not the case.
In my opinion, Paul is the greatest man in Christian history.
lived a righteous life in the midst of all
his problems. We might complain.
He lived as he did so no man could accuse him, but they did anyway.
anyone was going to accuse him, it would be for the sake of the
some tried to call him an imposter, yet before God he knew where he stood.
During these hardships he lived by the strength of the Holy Spirit
and the power of God.
He was far from rich by worldly standards.
At times he went hungry and could not sleep at nights.
He was truly a servant of God not for the sake of any earthly
rewards, but for the sake of the gospel.
He lived his life as he did in order to bring as many to salvation
He knew very well that his day of relaxation and plenty would come
in the next life.
He could endure the present because of the future.
won't comment on all of the words Paul uses in the above verses. Many of
them are self explanatory.
However, I will comment on a few words.
The word "purity" in verse 6 doesn't mean sexual purity,
although we can be certain Paul was sexually pure.
The word here means "singleness of purpose; not having your
thinking and way of life contaminated".
Paul was single minded in his life's goals.
word "understanding" in verse 6 is translated from the Greek
word "gnosis", meaning, "to know, or knowledge".
Thus the understanding Paul has here is not necessarily being an
It's understanding based on knowledge.
O how important this is for Christians, but an understanding based
on Biblical knowledge is lacking in many these days.
the word "weapons" in verse 7.
Christians are at war whether we want to be or not.
As Paul teaches in Ephesians 6, our fight is a spiritual battle.
I've always said that if we don't experience this fight in our
lives, we've given into the enemy. We've surrendered the fight.
Paul knew nothing about surrendering the fight.
No one likes to fight.
No one likes war, but war is basic to sinful humanity.
the word "dishonor" in verse 8.
It is actually from a Greek word been means to have all rights of a
citizen taken away from you.
It's being dealt with as if you were a common criminal, and in some
people's mind, that is what Paul was.
verse 11 he says that “we have spoken freely … and opened wide our
hearts to you”.
Here you see the crux of the problem that Paul had with the
Earlier he mentioned that he wished they could boast in him and his
he gets to the heart of the matter.
Paul and his companions gave themselves unreservedly to these
“opened wide their hearts”.
They exposed themselves and became vulnerable before the
12 says that they did not “withhold their affection” from the
Corinthians, but the Corinthians in return withheld their affections from
withholding of the Corinthian's affection towards Paul is really one of
the motivating factors in why Paul wrote this letter in the first place.
could compare this to any type of relationship.
Maybe a husband and wife, where one party gives affection from his
or her heart but does not receive any in return.
This can create much sorrow, sorrow that Paul experienced.
Paul relates this to a parent child relationship, by encouraging
them as his children in the Lord, to “open their hearts also”.
He says that such a response to him would be a “fair exchange”.
was a great man of God, but you can see here his humanness showing
Paul did experience hurt.
He loved those in the churches and when they did not return the
love, he felt really bad.
I find it interesting and refreshing that we see the human heart of
Paul in this letter.
the words "fair exchange" here.
This is an economic term.
One person would barter for something and their would be a fair
exchange of goods between two people.
You might even wonder why Paul, the one who knew sacrifice, would
even think in terms of a "fair exchange", but it's only human to
think in such a way.
It's also godly to think in such a way.
Love is about giving and receiving.
Love is a "fair exchange" of
love between two people.
Relations can only grow with such a "fair exchange".
One sides relationships will never grow.
verse 13 Paul also speaks to the Corinthian believers as if they were his
children, and in one sense of the word they were spiritual children to
parent's heart gets torn to pieces when there is not a free exchange of
love between him and his child.
One of the most hurtful things a parent goes through is when their
children reject them.
When the one they conceived, gave birth to, and raised, walks away
in anger and rejection, it is extremely painful for the parent.
concludes this section by saying, "open wide your heart to us".
In other words, embrace us with all you have.
Share in the love that comes from God.
verse 14 Paul tells his readers “not to be yoked with unbelievers”.
Many over the years have related this verse to marriage, saying
that a Christian should not marry an unbeliever.
This should obviously be the case, but I don’t believe that Paul
is restricting his comment to marriage alone.
Marriage is definitely a yoking situation, yet there are other
yoking relationships as well. One
example might be a business partnership.
The point that Paul makes is that “what does righteousness and
wickedness have in common”? How
can two people work together properly when they have such fundamental
asks, “what harmony is there between Christ and Belial”, (Satan)?
Also, “what does a believer have with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the
uses the word "yoke" in verse 14.
He might have had Deuteronomy 22:10 in his mind when he penned
these words. God says,
"do not plow with a ox and a donkey yoked together".
This is only common sense. One
can't plow properly if you have an ox and a donkey that are yoked together
and attempting to plow. The
same works in life, whether in marriage, business, or in any kind of
partnership. Paul is not
saying to disassociate with the non-Christian.
He's simply saying don't form any close partnership with the
says in verse 15, "what harmony is there between Christ and
is simply another term for satan. There's
obviously no common ground between Jesus and satan.
This tells me something of how Paul views people in the world.
They are influenced by Belial, or satan.
We should have the same understanding, and for that reason we
should not enter into close partnerships with them.
speaks of light and darkness in verse 15.
This is in reference to Jesus being the light and satan being the
characterization is seen throughout the New Testament.
John in his gospel writing calls Jesus the "light of the
world" in a number of places in his book.
point he is making here is that how can you live with God and live with
the devil, or a non-Christian at the same time. It
is not possible. Jesus said
that you can't serve two masters. It's
a similar situation here. You
can't walk in unity with someone who is that much different from yourself.
The problem though is that often the Christian's way of living is
not all that different than the worldly partner's way of living.
This should not be.
verse 16 Paul says that we are the
verse 17 Paul reaches a conclusion that is meant to be an admonition to
the Corinthians. He says,
“therefore come out from among them and be separate…”
Over the centuries many have taken this verse literally while
others not so literally. Some
groups have interpreted this verse in such a way that they have withdrawn
from the world and lived apart from the world.
They have built communes and have tried to exclude themselves from
any contact with the world. Paul
is not really saying this.
Paul is saying is that we cannot join into any kind of partnership with
those who are not of the Lord Jesus. We
must come out of these partnerships. We
must step away from them, whether they be in church or the world.
Paul might well be speaking of the false teachers here who are
trying to destroy his ministry and the Corinthian church.
verse 18 Paul quotes from 2 Samuel 7:14 by saying that if we live apart
from worldly and satanic influence as best as possible God will be a
father to us and we will be his children.
What more could we ask for. If
we don't come out from among the ungodly, that causes a separation between
us and our heavenly father, as when a child goes out into the world and
lives an ungodly life. The
child in facts separates himself from his parents.
concludes this section in chapter 7, verse 1, by saying “since we have
these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that
contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for
God”. There are many things
in the world that contaminate our bodies and our spirits.
Paul is telling us to stay away from such things and in so doing we
will become more holy. This
clearly shows us that we have a part to play in the process of being
sanctified. Being sanctified
is the process by which we are set aside entirely for Jesus.
It is a life-long process which only can take place when we
co-operate with the Holy Spirit. We
as individuals have a part to play in this process, and so does the Holy
Spirit. If we don't work with
the Spirit of God, we won't be in the process of sanctification.
problem is that while living in this world, we cannot totally avoid
worldly influences. The
struggle against the temptation of the world is a constant struggle we
have, or at least we should have. If
we don't feel the stress from the temptation;' if we don't struggle with
the world, I suggest we have given into the world.
We have not come out if it. I
think if we admit it, many of us have simply given into the world's
influence and that is why we are not struggling with it.
You don't struggle against something you've given yourself to.
The same can be said about the Christian's struggle with himself.
If there is no struggle between self and the Holy Spirit as Paul
speaks about in Romans 7, you've given into sinful self.
to what Paul says here in verse 1, the thing that should motivate us from
not being contaminated by the world is the fact the God wants to be our
Father. This should always be
in the forefront of our thinking. It's
not simply a matter of "don't do this or don't do that".
It's not about rules. It's
about having a Father son relationship with the God of all things.
Note the word promises in this verse. Paul endured all sorts of things in his life, and one of the reasons that he did so is because he knew that in a future time, God's promises would be made real for him. He could sacrifice the present for a better future. Instant gratification is something that the western world is caught up in, but that was not Paul's way of life.
verse 3 Paul asks his Corinthian Christians to make room for him and those
with him in their hearts.
This is an affectionate way of saying, "open up your lives to
Some might view Paul as a hard nosed apostle, but here you can
clearly see that he has a soft side to him.
says, "we have wronged no one …
corrupted no one … exploited no one".
By saying this we can see some of the criticism that was being
brought against Paul and those ministering with him.
They were being accused of wrong doing, corruption, and
verse 3 Paul makes sure that the Corinthians understand that these words
are not meant to “condemn” them.
He just desires to have an affectionate relationship with these
people, that he says he is willing to “live or die with them”.
This is how intense Paul is in his feelings for these people.
This is not a passing relationship with Paul.
We see the intensity of Paul here.
He is a very passionate man, yet at the same time, it's more than
human emotion here.
It's the love of God expressed through the Holy Spirit
found in Paul's life.
Paul says that he is willing to either live or die with the Corinthian
believers, this tells me that he is giving his all for them.
Whatever it takes to see these people through to the end he will
do, even if it means his death, and, maybe harder still, even if it means
living and working things through with them.
verse 4 Paul says that he takes “great pride” in the Corinthians,
despite all of their problems.
He goes on to say a very interesting thing.
He says, “in all our troubles, our joy knows no bounds”.
We have noted some of the trouble Paul went through for these
is saying that in all of these troubles “his joy has no bounds”, his
heart is still joyful in the Lord.
This is what Paul would call the “abundant life”.
Abundance in life for Paul had nothing to do with material
blessings or worldly joy.
It was all an inward joy from the Holy Spirit and from doing the
will of God. The
joy that Paul speaks of here is the joy that the Corinthian believers are
now coming around to his side and beginning to embrace him. Hardships are
worth it for Paul when the results turn out so good.
see Paul's mood swings in this second letter to the Corinthians.
We have seen him depressed, even despairing of life.
Here he is full of joy and gladness of heart, all because he is
beginning to see hopeful things in the Corinthians.
It does not appear that the things of this world either gets Paul
down or gets him excited.
What gets him feeling down, or, what gets him feeling good, is how
the people of God are doing.
Paul's life was totally invested in the people of God.
Nothing else really mattered to him.
Again, as I've been saying all along, what we see of Paul in this
letter must be studied and implemented by anyone seeking to be a pastor.
chapter 2, verse 13, Paul gets side tracked in what he is saying.
Here, in verse 5, he gets back to where he left off in chapter 2,
verse 6 Paul speaks of the time when he and those with him entered the
says, "this body had no rest".
Personally speaking, that would be hard for me to take.
I like my sleep, but as we know, Paul had many sleepless nights in
his attempt to spread the gospel of Jesus.
also says that he had conflict on the outside and fears on the inside.
"Fears on the inside" is interesting.
Most of us probably view Paul as one of the most greatest men of
I certainly do, but here, we see a great man of God with internal
was human, and at times, he did fear.
That should at least comfort us a little.
If the great apostle Paul feared at times, then our fears shouldn't
seem all that bad.
verses 6 and 7 Paul says that God comforted
him and his friends.
How did God do this?
God brought Titus back into their midst.
Yet he continues to say that the comfort was not only seen in the
coming of Titus to them, but knowing that the Corinthians comforted Titus
in his troubles was an indirect comfort to Paul. Seeing the people he
ministered to doing good would make Paul’s day.
had great sorrow for the Corinthians, mainly because of their lack of
concern for him.
Yet upon the return of Titus Paul could see this changing.
Titus must have brought some good news Paul’s way because in
verse 7 he says that Titus
told us “about you longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent
concern for me”.
This resulted in Paul saying that “his joy was greater than
You might compare this to a parent being joyful over something
their children did that would please them.
in second Corinthians you see Paul's mood switching back and forth.
He just expressed some sorrow, but now he expresses great joy.
No other book in the Bible expresses such emotions, and such
verses 8 and 9 Paul admits that an earlier letter did cause the
It caused him sorrow to write the letter, but because of the good
results, he did not regret the letter or the sorrow it caused.
In verse 9 he says, “I see that my letter hurt you, but now I am
happy … because your sorrow led you to repentance”.
Once again we see the importance of repenting. This was the goal
Paul had in mind when he wrote his letter.
He wanted these people to repent, to turn from the direction that
they were going.
discussion among scholars has taken place to what letter Paul is actually
If you simply look at our English Bibles you would think that 1
Corinthians was the letter Paul was talking about, but as I've discussed
earlier, most scholars feel that Paul wrote more letters to the
Corinthians than we presently have. So 1 Corinthians might not be what
Paul had in mind in this verse.
this point let's look at three important words here in the NIV.
They are "sorrow", "regret", and
word "sorry" is translated from the Greek word "lypeo".
It means, "to be grieved, to be sad, to be sorrowful, or in
is a general or neutral type of word in Greek to simply denotes being
word "regret" is translated from the Greek word "metamelomia",
which means, "after care, regret, wish I'd never done …"
This means that we sometimes have after care, or, second thoughts,
after we do something wrong.
Once we do something wrong, we sometimes feel grief over it.
"Metamelomia" is actually a step beyond the above Greek
word "repent" is translated from the Greek word "metanoeo",
meaning, "after mind, or, to change one's mind after thinking things
is yet another step beyond the last Greek word, "metamelomia".
is clearly a distinction in words here that is noted by a progression from
the first to the second, and then to the third Greek word.
was sorry because he betrayed the Lord.
The Greek word "metamelomai" is the Greek word that is
used of Judas.
After doing what He did, after thinking it over, he felt bad.
He was grieved, full of sorrow. You
might say he was sorry because he was caught, but that being said, I do
believe he was very grieved, thus the reason for his suicide.
In Matthew 27:3 we see "metamelomai" used in relation to
betrayed the Lord.
He felt sorry after he did what he did, but his sorrow turned him
Peter's sorrow led to repentance.
repentance, the Greek world viewed it as "a change of mind".
However, the Hebrew world viewed repentance as being "a change
I believe that Biblical repentance is a combination of both.
It's both having a change of mind that leads to a change of action.
repentance is important to salvation.
Repentance is not merely feeling bad for your sins.
It is having a change of mind about your sin.
It is in fact knowing your sin is wrong, and, then once knowing you
attempt to change.
You attempt to stop sinning.
Only then can one turn to Jesus in real faith.
There is no salvation apart from repentance, and repentance has
really been underplayed in today's Christian world.
That might well be why so many church goers struggle at being
It's because they're not really a Christian.
They have not repented.
Mark 1:15, among many other passages says, "repent and believe
the good news".
You cannot ignore repentance.
There is no salvation without it.
interesting to note that Jerome (347 to 420 A.D.) when translating the
Latin Vulgate into English he changed the word "metaloma", or
repentance, to "do penitence".
Penitence is not the key.
Repentance is the key.
Simply making something right doesn't mean in your heart you've
made it right.
Jerome was putting the emphases on "works", not
as we see, the sorrow that Paul saw in these people was “Godly
This sorrow was from God Himself, that would produce this
repentance. Paul clearly says that “Godly sorrow produces repentance”.
Again, this is something our modern church has forgotten about.
We don’t want to make people unhappy.
We want them to jump immediately from their sinful state to a place
of happiness, yet if people would experience some sorrow due to their
sinful way of life, they would appreciate the grace of God even more. By
weakening the place of Godly sorrow and repentance in the salvation
process, we weaken the faith of people who come to Jesus.
when you or anyone experience sorrow, you might want to think and pray
about why you feel so sorrowful.
It might well be from the Lord.
see a progression in Paul’s wording in this verse.
First he mentions being sorry for our sins.
This sorrow leads to repentance, and repentance leads to salvation,
that leads to no regret.
The end result is that if we go this route we will end up with no
If we skip the sorrow and repentance part of the equation then we
will not end up with the same “no regret” result.
If we are not sorry for our sin, we may very well look back with
regret and wish to sin over again.
This is one reason why people backslide into unbelief.
This is why meaningful repentance is so important in the process of
contrast, in verse 10 Paul says that worldly sorrow brings death.
We can all agree to this.
is something else we see in verse
Paul himself had some "regret" after he wrote the letter
that made the Corinthians sorrowful.
The Greek word here is "metamelomai". Remember,
that word means to think about after.
Paul had second thoughts about writing the letter, but he never
changed his mind about writing it
He never revoked the letter
verse 9 we see Paul happy.
The regret in verse 8 turns to happiness in verse 9 because the
sorrow felt by the Corinthians turned into true repentance.
All of the above Greek words are used here.
10 is important.
As I said above, only godly sorrow can lead to repentance, and only
repentance can lead to salvation without an regret
Again, we see all three Greek words used in verse 10.
in verse 10 Paul says that "worldly sorrow leads to death".
There are two types of sorrow; godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.
We see worldly sorrow all around us and it's not a happy site.
verse 11 we see some of the good results that repentance brought to these
says that they have become “eager, earnest in clearing themselves,
short the Corinthians saw their need, repented, and corrected the problems
they had with immorality and other such things, resulting in clearing
their conscience before God and man .
It is now clear that the Corinthians hearts were turning back to
wonder he is now happy.
Corinthians are now "earnest", meaning they are sincere.
They're eager to clear themselves, meaning, get things cleared up
and recover the good name they had lost.
the word "indignation" in verse 11.
From the Greek it means "to be moved with great passion, even
anger, based on some kind of sorrow".
These people became passionate in the process of getting back on
word "alarm" in the NIV in verse 11 is translated from the Greek
word "phobos', meaning "fear".
You might then say that the fear of the Lord was now a motivating
factor in the lives of these Corinthians.
word "longing" in verse 11 is translated from the Greek word
"epipothesis', from "epi", upon, and "potheo", to
desire, meaning, "an intense desire".
They intently desired to get back on track.
word "concern" is translated from the Greek word "zelos",
meaning "zeal based on jealousy".
goes on to say that they were now "ready to see justice done".
Again, they felt compelled to make things right.
verses 12 and 13 Paul continues to say that he is very “encouraged”
because he did not necessarily write concerning the one “who did the
wrong” or the “injured party”, but that “before God they could see
for themselves how devoted they were to Paul”.
We know that Paul wanted to see the immoral problem resolved, yet
beyond that Paul was thinking of the Corinthians and their relationship
He felt that deep inside they were devoted to him but could not
express it because of the sin that was among them.
Once the sin was dealt with, the love and respect returned to their
Sin does indeed separate.
It separates us from God and from each other.
not exactly sure what incident Paul is speaking of here in verse 12.
It might well be the man who had sex with his father's wife, seen
in 1 Corinthians 5.
again you can see that this letter of Paul’s is full of feeling, full of
We see a side of Paul that we might not see elsewhere.
We see him in sorrow.
We see him in joy.
Because “Titus was refreshed in spirit”, that made Paul very
seems to me that the things that really make Paul happy were the things
that were closest to his heart, and they were the people he ministered to.
verse 14 Paul tells his readers that he “boasted” to Titus about them,
and his boasting was well founded.
This is interesting since this church was full of problems.
Paul boasted of these people in spite of their problems.
He must have felt that they would repent and get their church back
on the right track. You might say that his boasting was a boasting by
faith, trusting Jesus for good results.
other words, when Paul sent Titus to check in on, and, to help, the
Corinthians in their problems, Paul was telling Titus, "there are
some good people in
verse 15 we see that it appears that Titus was the one who might have
delivered the letter that caused the sorrow, or at least visited the
Corinthians on Paul’s behalf, for Paul says that they received Titus in
“fear and trembling”.
This would suggest the importance that the early church placed on a
visit from an authority in the church, something that is not seen in our
see the word "obedient" here.
The Corinthians weren't necessarily being obedient to Paul, but
really, they were being obedient to the gospel of Christ.
also note in verse 15 that the Corinthians "received Titus in fear
I see this fear and trembling this way.
The Corinthians saw Titus coming and they thought, "O no,
we're in trouble now.
The apostle has sent his messenger".
Though the Corinthians might have been experiencing fear and
trembling, we should realize that all that Paul was saying and doing
concerning them was done out of passionate love for them.
verse 16 we see yet another time that Paul is glad.
He is glad that he can now have full confidence in the Corinthians.
Again, how Paul feels on any given day largely depends on how the
people of God are doing.
had just spoken some encouraging words to the Corinthians.
In the next couple of chapters he is going to request something
It's like he is building them up in this chapter, once built up, he
comes with the request.